If you didn’t hear, Stephen Harper’s latest Web 2.0 attempt to bypass the national media (thus further controlling his message) was to live stream his response to the Throne Speech on YouTube. And while I doubt he got any additional viewers to watch him drape himself in the flag once again, and that hey, CPAC and ParlVu has been streaming online for years already, it’s not like this isn’t fraught with any additional challenges. Like the fact that hey, the Google arranged this with them, not the other parties, and oh look – they’re registered to lobby the PMO already. And oh, look – Kady O’Malley, a member of the national media, is on the case.
Members’ Statements yesterday was dominated by remembrances of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and a moment of silence followed the statements before Question Period began.
When the moment was over, Michael Ignatieff started off by asking for a full public inquiry on the Afghan detainee issue, and assured that recent revelations were no matter, and that he wasn’t afraid to go all the way back to 2001 if need be. Harper simply accused him of impugning the conduct of public servants in this whole affair. Dominic LeBlanc again followed up on the Iacobucci matter – why were there no terms of reference yet? He also repeated the call to take the inquiry back to 2001. Rob Nicholson claimed the opposition implied the government was responsible for document releases, when it’s all the civil service’s fault.
Gilles Duceppe asked about the 22 percent increase in the PMO’s budget for 2010 in an era of government austerity. Harper assured him that it was for PCO’s budget, not PMO’s, and that it was to help coordinate the G7 and G20 meetings (though I believe it’s actually the G8 they’re hosting and not the G7). The Bloc’s Pierre Paquette followed up by asking about ministerial responsibility, and specifically, whatever happened to it? Rona Ambrose assured him they were looking into those suspicious contracts at Public Works. Later during Question Period, Martha Hall Findlay asked a similar question about responsibility, and Ambrose did the usual government tactic of blaming the civil servants, and assuring the House that a third party was being brought in to review the situation.
Jack Layton asked why the government wasn’t standing up against foreign takeovers, and why he was trying to sell out our telecoms companies. Harper touted the acquisitions made by Canadian companies abroad, and pretty much called Layton a dirty socialist. Marlene Jennings asked about the Rahim Jaffer and Helena Guergis affairs, referring to them as “Bonnie & Clyde,” not that she got an answer.
The Bloc’s newest wunderkind Daniel Paillé asked about the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s new numbers, which showed that Flaherty’s deficit reduction plan would be a failure. Flaherty retorted that the PBO has been wrong before and that he’s wrong now. Err, except that in the reality the rest of us live in, it’s been Page who’s been right pretty much every time, and Flaherty who’s been wrong every time.
Marc Garneau inquired as to the de-funding of Canadian Foundation for Climate Change, and Jim Prentice assured him that we’re doing all kinds of work on climate change, and that they’ve extended the mandate of the Foundation an additional year. (But what about the funding?) And near the end, Denis Coderre asked about those CIDA funds for Haiti that aren’t being spent. Bev Oda said that $85 million spent was immediately, and that they assisted charities. Apparently they are now confirming contributions for the matching funds programme, which will go to recovery and reconstruction efforts.
On the sartorial front, both Hedy Fry and Paule Brunelle were rocking similar shades – Fry with a black top and skirt with park pink trimming along it and a flower at the scoop-neck. Brunelle on the other hand had a black jacket with a collared shirt beneath of that similar pink shade. Colour with black can be tricky, but I really think Brunelle pulled it off quite well. Jack Layton was going against type with a powder blue shirt and a blue tie. And the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a grey jacket and top with pearls. Nearly there – the jacket had those puffy shoulders from bygone years, but it is still a vast improvement over some of her worse offences.